In-Person Services

Hello Church Family!

I’m sure many of you are as excited to get back into our church building as I am, even if there is just a hint of uncertainty lingering!

As I’m sure most of you are aware, we will return to our building for worship on the 6th June. This will look very much as it did in that interim period between lockdowns previously. This means that it will be a ‘hybrid’ service (which means it will be made available live on Zoom, then a recording later posted on YouTube).

This also means that, should you wish to worship in the church building, you must ‘book in’ with Debbie Cairns, as currently, we are still limited to 30 people indoors. It is possible that, by the 13th of June, we will be able to have up to 50 indoors. Also like previous occasions, in order to worship in the church building, one must still wear a mask, follow the one-way system, and maintain social distancing as much as possible.

It is certainly my hope that, in the near future, we’ll be able to worship again with a full house, with no masks or other restrictions—something that is almost difficult to imagine after all this time! In the meantime, though, we press on and continue to worship our God through all of life’s ups, downs, twists, and turns.

Blessings,

Rachel

Private Prayer

The church will be open once a week, for one hour, for private prayer. This will occur on Wednesday afternoons from 2:00-3:00pm.

The same risk assessment and guidelines will apply to this private prayer time as for Sunday morning services, which means that people will need to wear masks, maintain appropriate distance, and follow the one way system in and out. We are not asking at this time for people to book in, though if the number of people coming to pray greatly exceeds our expectations, we may have to implement this system in future.

We hope that some of you will make use of the opportunity for private prayer in our church building and that you will find it spiritually nourishing as we press on toward that light at the end of the tunnel.

Blessings,

Rachel

New Hub Plan

Plan Mar – May 2021

Unfortunately this quarter we cannot have a full Plan of worship for all our Churches and Chapels. The intention is to have a full Plan for the quarter beginning June 6th.

What this Plan does reflect is the on-line Acts of Worship that will definitely take place in this next quarter. Chepstow and Caldicot in one Hub, Monmouth and Trellech (at 5.00 PM) in another; St. Julian’s in a third and Trinity in the fourth. If you wish to access these Services the contact details are available. We also have on-line Services planned for Maundy Thursday (April 1st) Good Friday (April 2nd) Easter Sunday (April 4th) and Ascension Day (Thursday May 13th).

The vaccination programme seems to be going well, and with the coming of warmer weather the future looks brighter. It may be that your Church/Chapel may open, safely, for prayer or an act of worship in these next three months. As local Stewards, local Local Preachers and local Ministers, these may be collaborative and joyful occasions, but they will not be part of this formal Plan, for I, in the role of Superintendent Minister, have deemed that we will only have the tried-and-tested on-line Services as our planned acts of worship.

I hope that this is a ‘one-off’. As a Circuit we will try and keep you informed of what is happening, and please do keep your ear to the ground in your locality, and may the Living God, revealed in Jesus Christ and confirmed through the Holy Spirit, bless us in the days, months and years ahead.

Gordon

Christmas Services

Please see below for our Christmas Services.

Wednesday, the 9th December at 7:30pm – Circuit Blue Christmas Service via Zoom*.


Sunday 20th December 10:00am – Nativity video Presentation by Junior and Messy Church Families in Sunday Holy Communion Service on Zoom.


Sunday 20th December at 4:00pm – St. Mary’s Carols by Candlelight service, broadcast live on YouTube.


Christmas Eve at 11:30pm – ‘Midnight’ Holy Communion Service on Zoom


Christmas Day at 10:00am – Zoom Service for all!


*Details for all Zoom services will be made available closer to the date of the service.

Wales Lockdown

We must now go into this further lockdown in Wales. For us at Chepstow this means that we cannot offer ‘in church’ worship. Our services will be held via Zoom with a live/recorded service from our homes. If you cannot join in via Zoom there will be recorded versions as YouTube links provided via email and on the website for later viewing.

Rev Gordon has written a further circuit letter for December giving advice to the church on lockdown.

Circuit Lockdown Letter December 2020

Advent Calendar

Please do share with friends and family

Advent Calendar

Here’s how it works:

The Advent Calendar is designed to be printed on one sheet front and back. Each day gives us three things to focus on:

  1. Photo prompt: This is a single word which is a prompt for reflection and for taking a picture of something inspired by that word. Then come and join the fun on social media! Use the hashtag #Godiswithus on your posts & to see what others are posting! I will be posting each day on the Monmouth Instagram account! (@monmmouthmethodistchurch) 
  2. Piece of music: I have chosen a piece of music for each day, trying for a variety of classic hymns/carols and newer music. If you would like to listen to the exact version I chose, you can check out the Spotify playlist linked on the calendar. (Spotify is free but does require an account.) If you don’t want to or can’t use Spotify, no worries! Just listen to your favorite version of the song listed (I left titles of carols/hymns generic) or Google for the song if it is a new or unfamiliar one. 
  3. Prayer: I have written a one-line prayer for each day. 

 The calendar will also pair with the daily worship sheets as both the word of the day and the prayer were each inspired by the lectionary readings for the day, which I expand on in the daily worship.

Blessings,

Bethany 

Great News!

Back to Worship in Church: we can now meet in Church as a group for services. 

A number of safety measures have been put in place. Please do read this carefully and follow the guidelines/instructions to keep everyone safe from Covid-19. 

There will be a maximum of 30 including the Minister/Lay Preacher, Musicians and Stewards allowed in church. To ensure we keep to this number there is a “booking system”. Please contact Debbie Cairns seatbooking@chepstowmethodist.org.uk at least two days before a service to indicate that you and, if appropriate, members of your family will be attending giving names and a contact phone number.

However, if you cannot be at a service you will still be able to be see the service via a Zoom link. Services will be available as podcasts later on a Sunday, on the the Church website in the usual way.

Welsh ‘Firebreak’

Hello Chepstow Methodist Friends,

Just when it seemed like things might be getting a little bit back to ‘normal’—or at least a ‘new normal’—we must now go into this ‘fire break’ lockdown in Wales for just over two weeks. What this means for us at Chepstow is that Worship will be held via Zoom at our normal worship time of 10:00am, but with a pre-recorded service being screened by Cliff at this time. If people are unable to attend that screening at 10:00am, there will still be a YouTube link provided for later viewing.

Obviously, this is a little disappointing for us, but we are hopeful that this will just be for the next three Sundays (the 25th October and the 1st and 8th November) and that we will be able to return to in-person Worship with pre-booked attendance on the 15th November. I want to thank Cliff Randall, especially, and all those who are involved in keeping us as connected as possible during these difficult and uncertain times. We hope to ‘see’ you in Worship on Zoom these next three weeks, or either on Zoom or in person on the 15th.

Blessings,

Rev. Rachel

Holy Communion

This Sunday, 20th September, we will share Holy Communion together for the first time in over six months! This is something that I am very much looking forward to, as it is certainly something I’ve greatly missed over these past months. However, I know that we might all feel a little hesitant, given what is going on in our world right now, so I wanted to make you all aware of the steps we will take to make receiving Holy Communion as safe as possible for everyone:

I will be completely responsible for the bread, which will be gluten free. I will buy it on Saturday and prepare it myself at home, after sanitising all surfaces I’m using. I will wear gloves and a mask to cut the bread into bite-sized pieces, then cover it with cling film. At church, after completing a slightly shorter communion liturgy than normal, I will then put on a mask, sanitise my hands again, then remove the cling film on the bread. I will distribute the bread to each person at their seat, being very careful not to physically touch anyone while distributing (I will do a very short ‘drop’ into people’s open hands, which should be cupped together, if possible, to ‘catch’ the bread). I will be the only person to handle this aspect of the elements.

One of the Communion Stewards will prepare and distribute the wine, again wearing gloves and a mask. There will be glass cups instead of plastic, as glass is more easily sanitised. Each person will take their own cup from the tray. To make sure no-one touches the cup of another person, there will be a gap left between cups. At the end of Communion, you will place the glasses on the floor by your seats, and they will be collected at the end of the service after the sanctuary has cleared.

I hope that this is clear, and I will describe these steps again on Sunday morning to make sure we all know what is happening. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please be in touch with me this week. I know that this is a very different way of sharing together in Holy Communion. It may feel strange and a bit clumsy, but I hope that we will all still find great joy in being able to share in it, in some way, together again. I pray that we will all be spiritually nourished by this, although in a different form. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday for Holy Communion!


In my first communication about Holy Communion, I did not mention people who were worshiping with us from home via Zoom. This was because I was unsure of how this would work, as the Methodist Church essentially has a policy against ‘virtual’ Communion because of our theology around Holy Communion.

However, having spoken to Gordon about it, we agreed that people at home may bring their own bread and ‘wine’ to ‘the table’ and share with us in Holy Communion as we are, in fact, one bread, one body, and those at home will be participating in the service and hearing the words of consecration live. So, if you will be joining us via Zoom on Sunday, please feel free to celebrate Holy Communion with us in your homes with your own bread and wine.

Blessings,
Rev. Rachel

Easter Sunday

At last the Sabbath was over.

Usually a day full of happy remembrances and gratefulness for all that YHWH had done for us in the past.  A time to be with family and celebrate together,

Not this week.

This Sabbath was full of grief, disappointment and confusion.

The man we had followed, loved and recognised as our promised Saviour

WAS DEAD

A horrible, painful, shameful death.

Strange and frightening things had happened as he died, thunder, darkness, voices. Rumours that the curtain in the Temple had been torn from top to bottom, tombs had opened and the dead were seen walking about.

All we knew was the pain of losing a loved one.

As soon as the Sabbath was over we went to purchase oil and spices to anoint and prepare the body for burial.

After a sleepless night we took the oil and spices and set off to the place where Jesus’s body had been placed.  The sun was rising; the darkness was leaving the sky to welcome another beautiful day.  We could not appreciate it; we were full of grief and questions. 

Were we strong enough to move the stone from the mouth of the cave?  We had heard that soldiers were guarding the cave, would they help us or turn us away?

All we wanted was to perform the final act of love to the body of the man who had meant everything to us.

Imagine our amazement as we reached the cave.

The stone had been rolled away, the guards were asleep, the cave was empty, and the grave clothes were folded.

A bright light shone in the cave.

It dazzled us.

A voice spoke,

“Jesus the Nazarene has risen from the dead, He is not here”

Was it an angel?

One of our group, Mary Magdalene, saw a man that she thought was a gardener, she asked him if he had been the person who had moved the body and if so, could he tell her where it had been taken to?

He looked at her, His eyes full of compassion and love and called her by her name, Mary.

It was Jesus, our Lord.

We were told to go to the Disciples and tell them what we had seen and wait with them until He came to them.

Confusion fled. Joy returned.   We remembered all that Jesus had told us and at last we understood His words.

Jesus had defeated death and was alive.  Everything he had said had been fulfilled and was true.

Amen.

By Joy Wilson.